Career Success

When McKinsey client CEOs are asked why they value McKinsey, the word “perspective” comes up a lot. While I remember hearing those words regularly as a consultant, I’ve more recently come to appreciate what those CEOs meant. Perspective is looking at the same information everyone else is looking at, but seeing a different picture than [...]

Over the arc of my career, I’ve done extensive work in professional development. This work included learning an endless list of strategies, tactics, and skills. When I look back over that time, the parts that I have valued the most are things I call “first-order principles.” A principle is a rule of thumb that’s timeless [...]

Last week, Citigroup announced that they are appointing Jane Fraser to be CEO. She will be the first woman CEO of a major Wall Street investment bank. Jane was actually the very first person I ever worked with at McKinsey. She was my first manager on my first engagement during my first week at the [...]

One of the ways to have power and influence in an organization is to become a trusted advisor to someone in a position of power. This usually involves providing immense value to your client, members of your professional network, your boss, your peers, or peers in other departments that are one or two levels above [...]

Warren Buffett’s right-hand man is Charlie Munger. I’ve read transcripts from several of Munger’s speeches, and I really love the multidisciplinary way he approaches investment decisions. When he cites the idea of market niches as a way to build a durable competitive advantage, he borrows that concept from the field of ecology. In nature, it’s [...]

In industry, whether your ideas get taken seriously depends on more than the quality of your thoughts. If the receptionist shares an idea and the CEO shares the exact same idea, more people will take the idea seriously when it comes from the CEO. Most people intuitively grasp that the last sentence is true but [...]

The other day, someone asked me about how to be more emotionally resilient in the face of obstacles and failures. While being completely immune to disappointment isn’t realistic, I do think it’s possible to reduce its impact on your life by 80% to 90%. My working process is that all disappointment comes from… expectations. If [...]

Risk is defined as the statistical probability of a negative event occurring. When you walk across the street, there is a statistical risk that you may be hit by a car. Whether you are aware of the risk or not is irrelevant. The math still applies. Whether you believe the risk is real is not [...]

I have a few female friends who were raised by fathers in the military. It’s been interesting to notice how well trained they are to be aware of their surroundings — assessing potential threats, planning escape routes, managing time and space between themselves and potential threats. As I understand, the military term for this is [...]

Every meeting has two types of people in it. Those with power and those without. Most people tend to think of power in terms of job titles and positions on the organizational chart. The CEO has power. A vice president has power. Your boss has power (over you and your career). While this is somewhat [...]

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